Bridging the Gaps has a combined focus on sex workers, people who use drugs, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people as well as vulnerable sub-populations, such as women, prison inmates, young people, people living with HIV and their spouses and sexual partners.
We address each group based on specific needs and with tailor made interventions. However, there are many shared issues and overlaps. All face similar obstacles when it comes to accessing health and human rights services. Moreover, LGBT people sometimes engage in sex work because they cannot find work. And sex workers sometimes use drugs to cope. Unfavourable and stigmatising health and social environments fuel these overlaps.
Through sharing best practices, lessons learned, advocacy tools and piloting joint solutions, Bridging the Gaps wants to overcome common challenges faced by key populations in accessing HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. By focussing simultaneously on all 3 key populations and on the crossovers between them in a single programme, Bridging the Gaps creates added value.
Facts and figures: why these 3 key populations?
- They are 10-20 times more likely to be infected with HIV than the general population;
- Only 8% has access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services they need;
- Sources in 62% of 106 countries reported that laws, regulations or policies were in place limiting access to services for key populations at higher risk;
- No fair access to treatment: For example in some countries less than 5% of injecting drug users get antiretroviral treatment;
- Discrimination and human rights violations – including imprisonment and death sentence – increase infection risk and undermine HIV/AIDS work;
- 79 countries and territories criminalise same-sex sexual relations between consulting adults, and more than 100 countries criminalise aspects of sex work;
- Globally, one out of five injecting drug users is living with HIV;
- Many countries continue to prohibit the provision of sterile injecting equipment and opioid substitution therapy and criminalise drug possession and paraphernalia;
- Dozens of countries criminalise HIV transmission, including more than 20 that have enacted such laws in recent years;
- Only 10% of funding needed is available.